Merck Aims to Significantly Increase the Proportion of Women in Management

Merck Aims to Significantly Increase the Proportion of Women in Management

•Voluntary target rather than statutory quota

Darmstadt, February 10, 2011 - Merck KGaA has set a goal to significantly increase the proportion of women in management positions. Worldwide, the percentage is to increase to between 25% and 30% by 2016. It is currently 22% Group-wide and 17% in Germany.

"The current public debate concerning a higher percentage of female executives in companies is extremely important. To move the issue forward at Merck, the Executive Board has set itself the goal of increasing the proportion of women in management positions within the next five years to between 25% and 30%," said Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck.
However, Kley stated that Merck rejected the idea of an overall statutory quota. "It goes against any economic sense to put women into management positions just to meet a quota. Irrespective of gender, age and national origin, we must ensure that executives have the right qualifications and are able to perform these functions well," he said.

In addition, the Executive Board is creating the new function of Chief Diversity Officer, who will develop strategies and measures to achieve the company's workforce diversity objectives. Jennifer O'Lear, currently Head of Corporate Human Resources Communications, take on this new function effective April 1.

At 43%, Merck has a relatively high percentage of female employees in the overall workforce compared to other DAX-listed companies.

"However, at management levels the percentage is still too low. Therefore, promoting talented women is one of the key issues we will be addressing in the future. To make better use of all the company's potential management talent pool is a wise use of our human resources," Kley continued. "Therefore, we need to ensure that we have a sufficient number of suitable female candidates who are keen to be promoted."

He emphasized the need, for example, to sufficiently promote suitable female employees at an earlier stage in their careers. "We must also identify talented women early enough at an international level. They need to have enough opportunities to gain experience in different markets so that they are well-rounded for higher management levels."

At Merck, managers are defined as persons with supervisory responsibility. For years, the company has been working on increasing the proportion of women in management positions, particularly at the company's main sites. The focus has been on programs to promote young female executives as well as measures to help reconcile the demands of career and family, and to overcome stereotype role models.

For instance, Merck has been participating for about 10 years in the Cross-Company Mentoring Program, which is specifically designed to develop young female executives. Additionally, since 2006, Merck has been an official cooperation partner of the "Mentorinnen-Netzwerk für Frauen in Naturwissenschaft und Technik"in Hessen ("Mentoring Network for Women in Science and Technology"). Through this cooperation, Merck hopes to increase the proportion of women working in science and technology, thus also increase the long-term the percentage of women in management positions in these fields. In all, approximately 25 female Merck employees are engaged as mentors.

Another important prerequisite is to create better opportunities to reconcile the demands of career and family."Deciding on a management career should be possible irrespective of the family situation," emphasized Kley. Flexible working hours, child care facilities, household support services and counseling services are examples of valuable support tools.

In 2008, Merck received its second award as a family-friendly company from the charitable Hertie Foundation, following its first award in 2005.BackAll Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of € 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 40,000 (including Merck Millipore) employees in 64 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.